Wednesday, October 9, 2013

World Sight Day 10 October 2013

 by Dr Rania Chiourea

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday of the month of October, in a bid to focus global attention on blindness, vision impairment and rehabilitation of visually impaired people.  This year falls on 10 October 2013. The theme for World Sight Day 2013 is: "Universal Eye Health".

‘World Sight Day’ as the name suggests, is a day that is dedicated to:

  • Awareness is created about blindness and vision impairment issues which are considered to be international public health concerns.
  • To motivate health ministers and other government officials to understand the problems and take keen interest in listing viable solutions and allocating resources to fight for the cause.
  • To raise awareness and educate people about issues related to vision impairment, the importance of a 2020 vision, the corrective steps to be taken in order to restore partially lost sight etc.

Statistics related to World Sight Day:

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired
  • 80% of 45 million blind people worldwide are over 50 years of age.
  • A majority of the blind people, about 90%, live developing countries, in nations where access to eye care is restricted.
  • Out of the eye care services that are administered worldwide, it is known that women and girls receive barely 35% of the care while men and boy receive well over 64%.
  • Women and girls make up over two thirds of the blind population worldwide.
  • 80% of the world’s blindness can be avoided. 
  •  42% of the global causes of visual impairment are due to Uncorrected Refractive Errors (UREs).

Diseases that receive attention under the World Sight Day initiative:

  • Cataract
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Low vision
  • Refractive error
  • Trachoma

Activities undertaken on World Sight Day:

  • Every individual has his own way of commemorating World Sight Day. Some people are known to plant trees to raise awareness.
  • Some people indulge in exchanging photos for international photo collages hosted by health agencies around the world.
  • Activists, who work solely for the cause, distribute posters, bookmarks, booklets and other promotional material that helps raise awareness. They also visit schools and colleges in order to educate the students about the perils of vision impairment.

World Sight Day:

  • The slogan ‘The Right to Sight’ is being advocated in a new promotional video this year.
  • The World Health Organization will host an exclusive interactive exhibition on vision and eye care.
  • A gala tour, will be organized for supporters, stakeholders and other dignitaries who support the Vision2020 initiative.
  • To reach the masses, celebrities will be appointed to endorse the campaigns that will be clubbed with the promotional video and they will be aired on TV as public service notices on international channels.

How can you support it?

  • Whether you are affiliated with an organization or you are an individual who wants to help, you can visit the Vision2020 homepage and check the details to make a contribution to the cause.
  • Eye care professionals, medical institutions, academic institutions and corporations who wish to lend a helping hand can also read the matter submitted on the Vision2020 homepage.

Vision2020 Activities:

  • The State of the World’s Sight is a report published by The World Health Organization. It contains details of the initiative taken during the first five years of the initiate as well as other information on the same.
  • The Vision2020 Action Plan is a research report that is available on the Vision2020 website as well as the website of The World Health Organization. This publication applauds the efforts taken by the teams to eradicate vision impairment and their achievements. It also lists the various challenges and obstacles that are plaguing the initiative.

 Promotional material for World Sight Day

To download promotional material for World Sight Day please visit the IAPB website. Here you will find suggestions of activities you could participate in and also ideas for social media posts on the day.
Let us know what you are doing to celebrate World Sight Day 2013.



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